Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Story Telling and Immortality

David's grandma has always been a great storyteller (I wrote about some of her stories here and here). So last weekend, when my friend Kristin e-mailed me about Storycorps' Thanksgiving story project (and also blogged about it here), I forwarded the information to David, knowing that he'd have the opportunity to interview his grandma.

I've always loved hearing the Storycorps interviews on NPR. Now, there's an app you can download on your phone to record an interview with anyone. This Thanksgiving, Storycorps is especially encouraging high school students to interview someone in an older generation and preserve their memories. You can submit the interview to Storycorps and NPR, and it will be stored in the Library of Congress.

So David sat down with his grandma last weekend, and they talked through many of the interview questions. He has about thirty minutes of her sharing her memories. I haven't listened to it yet, but I'm really looking forward to it--maybe on our drive home this weekend. 

David and I are sad that our girls are still so young that they won't be able to remember their Grandma Peppa (though Zuzu might--her little brain is kind of uncanny with recall sometimes...), so it means a lot to us that we have this keepsake, and that someday the girls will get to hear her tell them about her life. I like to think of it as a way for her stories to live on in them. I wish I had something similar for all of my grandparents--what a gift!

So if you are getting together with family this weekend, put the app on your phone, pull up some interview questions, and record a conversation with someone you love. 

Emily Dickinson wrote, "Unable are the loved to die / For love is immortality." 

I think she's absolutely right, but I also like the idea of capturing some of that love in a conversation that will last forever.


  1. I'm so glad David got a chance to interview Grandma Peppa. I interviewed my grandfather in 2000, about a year before he passed -- hopefully the microcassette is still in my house somewhere.

    As for kids and memories: my mother died almost three years ago, and we've given up hope that my younger daughter will have any memories of her -- not only was she only 18 months old when my mom passed, she wasn't quite a year when my mom started getting really sick and couldn't interact much with the girls. But my older daughter, who was about the age Zuzu is now, still talks about Nana now and then, and remember restaurant outings or Nana's favorite color. So I think she'll retain some memories, although they'll probably be hazy.

    ...blessings and a peaceful Thanksgiving to y'all.

  2. I love listening to the StoryCorps stories on NPR. This is a great way to save and share some family memories. Cheers - CT

  3. I want to do this with my parents when they come for Christmas. Such a wise idea. Thanks for sharing

  4. I'm just reading this today and hadn't heard of it before. My husband's grandmother is 97 and doesn't seem a day over 75. I'm really curious about her thoughts on race relations today, knowing what she lived through. I'm going to have my 10th grader interview her this week, then my father, 74, next weekend.

  5. I did this a few months ago with my 91-year-old grandma. She was a young woman in Germany during World War II and has some amazing stories about hiding from the Russians, crossing the border at night while crawling through the rubble and weeds, etc. So happy I have it!